Stumped about how to make the most of all those long summer evenings in the sunshine? Look no further than this month’s pick of top tipples, wine merchants, bottle shops, distilleries and more
Carruthers & Kent
Newcastle Enoteca Carruthers & Kent is a thriving wine and bottle shop, deli and wine bar; a place to learn about and sample great wine and pair it with fine cheese and charcuterie. Take away or eat and drink in with advice from owners Claire Carruthers and Mo O’Toole and their team. They host regular wine tasting evenings drawing winemakers and experts from around the world and after a two-year interval, they are back on their travels bringing new wines to Newcastle. If you want knowledge with a personal touch, this is the place to go.
Elmfield Road, Gosforth, Newcastle, NE3 4AY, tel 0191 213 1818, www.carruthersandkent.com
Grape and Grain
Morpeth’s oldest independent fine wine, craft beer and spirits merchant, Grape and Grain is home to a wide range of quality products you won’t find in supermarkets. The team research every product fully and try everything before adding it to the shelves. They also offer expert advice on issues including matching wines to your meal choices, selecting the finest spirits and more. Be confident you’ll get a great product and remember that anything which doesn’t pass the team’s taste test doesn’t get onto the shelves.
Grape and Grain Bridge Street, Morpeth, NE61 1NL, tel 01670 504 901, www.grapeandgrain.online
CentrAle in Newcastle’s Central Station is the quintessential bottleshop, packed with bottles, cans and lots more from the best breweries, distilleries and artisan producers in the North East and beyond. Bruce and his daughter Ellen stock a huge range of local tipples and are happy to help you choose something for any occasion, from a quiet afternoon in the garden to a party catering for guests with a multitude of different tastes. Local favourites feature alongside special editions and there’s always something new to try.
Platform 12, Central Station, Newcastle, NE1 5EW, tel 0191 261 8468, www.centralebeer.com
Block & Bottle
Block & Bottle in Heaton, Newcastle, is an award-winning artisan butcher and bottle shop housed in a beautifully restored Edwardian shop. It recently featured in TV’s Hairy Bikers Go North series, Si King declaring it “the best butcher’s shop in the North East.” The shop specialises in locally sourced whole carcass butchery and can supply any cut of meat. It stocks around 150 beers from the best breweries in the North East, UK and further afield, natural and organic wines from around the world, and Room For Fishes cocktails made in Newcastle. All can be bought or enjoyed in the cosy back room with log burner and Scandi décor.
188 Heaton Road, Newcastle, NE6 5HP, tel 0191 265 7955, www.blocknbottle.com
Muckle Brewing in Hadrian’s Wall country has built a passionate following for its big flavours and high-quality beers covering a range of styles. This garden brewery run by Tom and Nicola Smith is renowned for its unfiltered, naturally carbonated bottle-conditioned beers. Available from various stockists and farmers’ markets across the region, you can also order Muckle beers online with the full selection available and ready to be delivered to your door ahead of a weekend in the sunshine.
WL Distillery has a reputation for quality gins made with handpicked ingredients. Founded and run by Scott Wilson-Laing, the distillery has won multiple awards, including Silver at the 2021 London Spirits Competition, Gold at The Gin Masters and Design Bronze at The World Gin Awards in 2021. Inspired by Scott’s summers in his grandad’s garden eating fruit from the bushes and trees as he enjoyed the sunshine, the flavours in each of the distillery’s gins are rooted in English produce, from blackberries to pears and apples. The range includes 1st Edition Gin alongside seasonal limited editions and Wilson’s Gin Club Watermelon and Liquorice. With further developments in the pipeline, watch this space.
The small batch gins are available to purchase online at www.wldistillery.com
Tynedale Beer Festival
As well as stocking up for your parties this summer, join in one of the biggest beer festivals of the season with the return of Tynedale Beer Festival on June 17-19. Taking place over three days at the beautiful Tynedale Park on Corbridge’s scenic riverside, the friendly festival will bring together beer, cider, wine, gin, rum, food, music and lots of fun in the sunshine. Saturday and Sunday are family-friendly too – children go free and there’s plenty to entertain them throughout the day. As ever, there’s a stellar line up of bands as well, and the street food village will welcome some of the region’s best vendors. Visit the festival website to find out more and book tickets.